December 9, 2020: Before sunrise the Crescent is near the star Gamma Virginis while brilliant Venus is low in the southeast. In three mornings, a thin moon joins Venus before sunrise.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:07 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:20 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Before sunrise the crescent moon is about halfway up in the sky in the south-southeastern sky. It is among the stars of Virgo, near Gamma Virginis (γ Vir on the chart). The moon is 33% illuminated. Tomorrow morning, the moon is near Spica.
Venus is lower in the southeastern sky among the stars of Libra.
On December 12, the thin crescent moon is above Venus. The pair should inspire photographers and artists.
Reflected sunlight from Earth’s features gently illuminates the night portion of the moon. This is known as earthshine.
The earthshine effect can be seen with a binocular or small telescope. Get ready for the scene that occurs in a few mornings to capture the scene in a creative way.
The photo above from earlier during 2020 displays the earthshine effect.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the moon (24.3d, 33%) is over halfway up in the sky in the south-southeast. It is 3.3° to the upper right of Gamma Virginis (γ Vir, m = 3.4). Venus is lower in the southeast, about 11° in altitude. It is 3.4° to the upper left of ι Lib.
Read more about the planets during December.
August 14, 2021: This evening the waxing moon is near Zubenelgenubi, the southern claw, that is a stellar double. Use a binocular to see both stars that are in a gravitation dance.
August 13, 2021: This evening the crescent moon appears between Evening Star Venus and Spica as the lunar slice dances eastward. Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky.
August 12, 2021: This evening the crescent moon appears between Venus and Spica as the lunar slice dances eastward.
August 11, 2021: The waxing crescent moon is to the upper left of Evening Star Venus this evening in the western sky.
August 10, 2021: The crescent moon is near Venus in the western sky after sunset.